Good News, 03.24.10


Don’t be frustrated by the obstacles you encounter on your spiritual journey.  They can increase your desire for the goal you seek.  Because the greater your goal, the greater the yearning you will need to achieve it. –   Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Our Community Seder with Beth Chaim Congregation is this Thursday, March 25.  We will begin at 5:45 and finish around 8 p.m.  There will be over 80 people participating from both of our congregations. Child care is provided.  Expect a great blessing.

Both of our Ministry Conversations proved quite valuable.  The recommendations from this process have been forwarded to our Council and the whole congregations will receive a report in the future.

You should know that the traditional Swedish coffee bread (“vetebullar”) served at hospitality last Sunday was baked by our High School Youth Allison Winter, Taylor & Cameron Eubanks and Erik Norton. If you would like them to bake more in the future be sure to offer them your thanks this next Sunday!

VBS will be presented June 21 – 25. You can register now and please invite your friends.  If you have any questions or want to be involved please speak with Christine Johansson. The Yo/Fam Committee and Partnership Committee met this past Sunday.  Creative ministry efforts involving you will be coming your way in the near future.

Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus
New Adult Sunday School Offering
Starts 9 AM Sunday, April 18.
Led by Gil Jardine

During Jesus’ earthly mission he served as a traveling Rabbi (teacher) who taught and preached the good news to his people—the Jews of Israel. His amazing teachings become even clearer to us today if we understand his parables and sayings in the context of his time and the expectations of his Jewish audience. Consequently, Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg have written a very approachable book that helps us understand Jesus’ message in the lively context of 1st century Judaism.
Join Gil in an engaging, spiritually fulfilling five session study of Spangler and Tverberg’s book. You’ll be taken on a fascinating journey that will help you grow in your understanding of the life-affirming power of Jesus’ message then and now.

Holy Week (sometimes known as Still Week) begins this Sunday with our Palm Sunday Service at 10:00 am.  We will begin in the Courtyard.
Maundy Thursday begins at 6:30.  Special elements will be added to our Soup and Sacrament format.
Good Friday – The Faith Walk is a guided spiritual journey which you may walk at your own pace.
The Easter Vigil begins at 7:30 pm on Saturday evening.  This is a joyous contemplative and hilarious celebration.  Nothing else like it during the year.
Easter Worship is at 10:00 am.  An Egg Hunt will follow our worship.

This Thursday is also the Annunciation of Mary when she received word that with her consent she would become pregnant.  This is sometimes referred to as her “coronation”.  Here is a poem that the Catechumens recently reflected upon together – especially the second stanza.

The Coronation by John O’Donohue

It was a long time ago in another land.
Who could tell how it really was before belief
Came towards you with a hunger that could not see you
Except against white air cleansed of the shadow of earth?

No inkling that you were a free spirit who loved
The danger of seeing the world with an open mind,
How you strove to be faithful to uncertainty
And let nothing unquestioned settle in your heart

You loved to throw caution to the wind when you danced.
To be outside in the dawn before people were,
Letting the blue tides of your dreaming settle ashore.
The village said you put the whole thing into his head.

In the glow of your silence, the heart grows tranquil.
No one will ever know where you had to travel.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 03.19.10


The Architect of the world never does the same thing twice.  Every day is an entirely new creation.  Receive as much as you can from what each new day has to offer. – Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Our Community Seder with Beth Chaim Congregation will be at Peace on March 25. We will begin at 5:45 and conclude around 8 p.m. The meal will be catered this year so the cost is $15/person.  Child care is available. To maximize our congregational connections and participation attendance is limited to those 12 and over. Families will need to provide a bottle of red wine for their table.  Grape juice will be provided.  Pray for many blessing with this unique celebration together.

Ministry Conversations:
A Suggestion: Members Inquired – “Now that the Debt is Retired, how will we decide our Ministry Priorities?”
Council Response: We will host 2 Saturday Dialogues for members to express their priorities and learn the callings of others.
Callings: “Where the pain of the world intersects the joy of your heart” – that is your calling.
Intention: In gathering the members of Peace we will clarify our callings, discern present and future congregational priorities,  and enjoy the company of friends.
Key: Your participation ….and the Holy Spirit.
Date and Time: 2nd Opportunity – Saturday, March 20 from 10 – Noon.  We will meet in the Gathering Hall.

It was marvelous to celebrate Antonio Garzon’s Baptism.  Congratulations to his parents Amy and Marco and the Hobden and Garzon families!

Deacon Raddi El Mogazi reported that the Crab Feast and Silent Auction raised over $3,000!  Many thanks to all who participated and contributed.

The Partnership Committee invites you to join them for conversation after worship this Sunday.

Jazz with Inga Swearingen this past Sunday was a most beautiful experience.  True sweetness, beauty and creativity.  Anton Schwartz adds so much also.  I thought you would be tickles to see the Marcus Shelby Invitation below.  We hosted this Martin Luther King Oratorio for Jazz at Peace 2 years ago.

Marcus Shelby’s Martin Luther King Jazz Oratorio – Saturday, May 8, 8:00 p.m., Creative Arts Building, 250 School St., Pittsburg:  Any congregation affiliated with the Interfaith Council is encouraged to attend this wonderful event, and also use it as a fundraising event.  Advance tickets for this show in the 2,000-seat auditorium will be $20.

Holy Week:

March 21 – Palm Sunday, 10:00 am
April 1 – Maundy Thursday, 6:30 pm
April 2 – Good Friday Faith Walk, 7:00 pm
April 3 – Easter Vigil , 7:30 pm
April 4 – Easter at 10:00 am with Egg Hunt following worship

I trust you have been reciting your Mantra all week:  In God’s eyes I am of Infinite Value.

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 03.11.10


Live not in the lure of tomorrow, ‘Tomorrow I’ll begin; tomorrow I’ll achieve.’   Remember!  There is only this day, this moment – this NOW! ‘Tomorrow’ is a different world altogether. –  Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

Our Ministry Conversations are this Saturday, March 13 and next Saturday, March 20 from 10 am – Noon.  Hopefully you have received the Invitation to participate.  Please bless us with your presence .  There will be coffee and goodies to enjoy.  Renewing ministries, sustaining current ministries , creating new ministries are all welcomed.  What matters to you – what stirs your passion, joy, hopes and dreams? The Spirit is willing to work with what we offer.  Choose one Saturday and join in.  Give us your best – make this a part of your Lenten journey.

Our thanks to the Healing Prayer Team for our Liturgy of Healing this past Sunday.  The power of prayer:  standing, breathing, with eyes covered and hands on the altar.  The purpose of prayer is to open our eyes that we might see what is real, who we are and what is truly going on.  This is called living in the Presence of God or living into your calling (which is where the pain of the world meets the joy of your heart).   Thanks to Mike, Greg, Ceil and John who volunteered to be “blinded.” Two more people have already asked for this experience next Sunday.

The Crab Feast was a great joy – excellent meal, friends, Silent Auction and spirit to the evening.   Can it get better?  It’s wonderful to see all the friends being invited. Over $2200 was raised for the support of our congregation.   Our thanks to Raddi El Mogazi for coordinating the Feast, to Mark Miller for the Silent Auction, and to all the top flight assistants:  Mike Valenta, Anika and Brielle Strom, Hunter and Chloe, Emily Weller, the Auction Contributors and the cast of thousands who cleaned up!

We presented Richard Caemmerer with a Tree of Life Cross (which lies underneath our sanctuary foundation) in gratitude for all his work with Peace…and for his birthday on St. Patrick’s Day.  Our thanks also to Ed Rethers for his work with all of the structural demands related to the aesthetic changes of last week.

Our Community Seder with Beth Chaim Congregation is fast approaching. Thursday, March 25th is the date and sign ups must be completed by March 17 since the meal will be catered.  The cost will be $15/person.  Child Care will be available.  We hope to have 60 people from each of our congregations which includes young people 12 years and older.  The Seder will be held at Peace.  Our Coordinating Team of Jeanie Locklear, Libby Flynn and Gunilla Norton urge you to sign up this Sunday or notify the church office soon.

Jazz at Peace happens this Sunday, March 14 at 5:00 pm with Inga Swearingen and her Swedish Jazz Farm.  Favorite saxophonist Anton Schwartz will also participate.  Come and enjoy the soulfulness of this gifted singer who is a regular guest on Garrison Keillors’s A Prairie Home Companion.

Remember the Best Use of your Sunday Bulletin is: take it home, put it on your refrigerator or coffee table; absorb the art work or image throughout the week; read the Gospel or one of the texts to learn what it says to you midweek;  check the Announcements in case you missed anything; and give it away to a friend who is looking for a spiritual home.  (Thanks to our Spiritual Director for this suggestion.)

It is a blessing to have our Seminarian Emily Weller with us.  Here is a little background information about Emily so you get to know her better.

Greetings Peace Lutheran! As your new teaching parish student I wanted to take the opportunity to introduce myself. I’m excited to be involved with Peace for the next three semesters of my seminary education!

I am currently in my second semester at Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley. I am a Master’s of Divinity student, seeking to be ordained in the ELCA. I just moved to California from the Midwest in August, and have been enjoying it. I do miss the snow, but after 23 years of it I must admit that sunshine in February is a nice change! I grew up in northwestern Ohio where my parents still live, and where I knew my first church family at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church. After high school, I attended college at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. I graduated from Valpo last May with a BA in theology. I had a great experience at Valpo, enjoying four years in the jazz ensemble as a trombonist, participating in the theatre program, being a member of the honors college, editing for the school paper, and studying abroad for a semester in Namibia and South Africa. My younger brother, Andrew, is currently a sophomore at Valpo. My boyfriend Dan, who some of you met, lives and works in Chicago, but will be attending Peace this coming fall when he moves back to his home state of California.

I thank you all for your warm welcome these first few weeks, and look forward to getting to know Peace and its many gifts even better. See you soon!  Emily

Blessings, Pr. Steve

Good News, 03.05.10


The Light of the Infinite One is without form and only takes shape – for good or bad – in the recipient.  Therefore it is up to us.  We have to do our best to shape God’s light into blessings. – Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

This Sunday we will have a Healing Prayer Worship Service.  A wonderful opportunity for prayer and light.

Our Crab Feast is this Saturday (3/6) at 5 PM.  Please email Raddi at [email protected] if you need to cancel or if you have any additions so we can prepare accordingly. There is still room for additions.   And remember, the crab is served pre-cracked but you may want to bring your own ‘crab crackers’ if you have them.  See you Saturday!”

Ministry Conversations: Now that our debt is gone to what ministries shall Peace devote and focus our energies?  The Council has prepared two occasions to hear from you and listen tone another:  Saturdays, March 13 and 20, 10 – Noon. There will be coffee and goodies to enjoy.  Renewing ministries, sustaining current ministries , creating new ministries are all welcomed.  What matters to you – what stirs your passion, joy, hopes and dreams?  The Spirit is willing to work with what we offer.  Choose one session and join in.  Give us your best – make this a part of your Lenten journey.

Our Community Seder with Beth Chaim Congregation will be at Peace on March 25. We will begin at 5:45 and finish around 8 p.m. The meal will be catered this year so the cost is $15/person. Reservations and payment are needed by March 17. Initially we are inviting 60 members from each congregation so Signing Up is important.  You can register this Sunday or call the church office. To maximize our congregational connections and participation attendance is limited to those 12 and over. Families will need to provide a bottle of red wine.  Grape juice will be provided.

Recycling at Last! After being caught for many months within a bizarre bureaucratic Catch 22 conundrum and after many hours of investigative research we finally have on site recycling for all our cans, glass and paper goods.  Rejoice, rejoice!

Jazz at Peace on March 14 will host Inga Swearingen who has created the Swedish Jazz Farm.  The 2003 winner of the Shure Jazz Voice competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival, she has been a favorite regular guest on NPR’s “A Prairie Home Companion” since 2005.  Garrison Keillor says, “Inga has a gorgeous voice, very fresh, evocative and note-perfect… and that’s the sort of person you want to sing harmony to.” What Lutheran won’t enjoy this!  Get a sample at: Inga’s website by clicking through here.  Invite your friends.

Our Family Service created an astounding worship: our children in their purple stoles, a purple “We are the World” Children’s Circle (thanks Annie), the Baptism of Lukas Collins, a unique altar design, Anita’s inspirational word about Children’s Ministry, Tamara Bohlin – cellist extraordinaire – and her musician sons, our Youth Guitarists and Singers (thanks April, Alexi, Abigail, Allison and Elizabeth), the Blessing of Marko Andre’ Johansson, the Eucharist and purple M&Ms.  What more could you want!   It is clear that we will have Family Services 3 or 4 times per year now.  Thanks to all who work with our young ones – Bob, Tammy, Ceil and Christine and all who have volunteered for future involvement.

To close – our Biblical Lesson from last Sunday:

Today we remember all the Matriarchs and Patriarchs of the Bible who started out as children…..and grew up:   Abraham and Sarah who were promised children – “as many as the stars of the sky!”;  Isaac who was nearly sacrificed on an altar…and his wife Rebekah; Jacob – who pulled a mean trick on his brother when they were boys – and his wife Rachel who wept for all the children she lost.

We remember all the babies the Israelite midwives saved;  we remember Baby Moses hidden in the rushes  – and all the children who ran for their lives from Egypt.

We remember Joseph and his Rainbow-Colored coat; Samuel the acolyte who worked in the Temple; David the sheepherder who slew Goliath.

And we remember the boy and his mom who shared their home with Elisha; and Jeremiah who was called in the womb; and Hosea’s children – who all got stuck with funny names.

These are some of the Small and Tall people who made God’s love real for all of us.

Blessings, Pr. Steve